Rays ponder Deadline deals
Maddon believes that team is ready to go for it this year
KANSAS CITY -- Rays manager Joe Maddon called himself "loyal, disgustingly loyal."
"We're not worried about hurting anyone's feelings right now," Maddon said. "This is a legit opportunity right now and it's a chance to do something that the word special doesn't even come close to describing."
On Friday, Maddon said nothing was in the works for a trade yet. He spoke with Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman about possibilities after Thursday's game.
"I'm not absolutely cognizant something will happen, so I'd say 50-50 at best," Maddon said. "I can't sit here and say this sounds like it's going to happen any day here."
The Rays would more than likely have to trade away prospects and Maddon believes this season is special enough that it's worth giving away some potential, in order to gain in the short term. The Rays, as has been well reported, are looking for a right-handed-hitting outfielder. The need for one has become apparent recently, as the offense has struggled since before the All-Star break, especially against left-handed pitching.
Rumors have mentioned the A's Matt Murton and the Pirates' Xavier Nady as possibilities. Pittsburgh confirmed on Friday that they had traded Nady to a different team, believed to be the Yankees. Injured outfielder Rocco Baldelli could also be an unexpected source of right-handed pop. Baldelli, who's rehabbing at Double-A Montgomery, played three innings in the outfield on Thursday and is scheduled to go five innings on Saturday. Maddon said the team has been receiving positive reports on Baldelli's progress.
As much as another bat could help Tampa Bay, Maddon said he thought the offensive group he has could easily turn it around. Third baseman Evan Longoria thinks they're already starting to do it.
"It was more like that the last seven days before the break," he said about the offensive struggles. "I think we're all right right now. We've run into some tough pitching as of late. We faced [A.J.] Burnett and [Roy] Halladay against the Jays. Coming in here first day and facing Gil Meche is another tough task."
Maddon and Friedman will also take team chemistry into account, as they evaluate their options before the Deadline. The Rays feature a close-knit group of young players. They're comfortable playing with each other on the field and in the clubhouse. Maddon knows that adding someone to the roster could change that feel.
"I've often said that all our players would accept the move if they know whoever this player is would make us better," he said, "But if it's more a lateral move, then at that point, it could do more harm than good. That's what you have to be careful with and balance out.
"I would be fully for it, again, if this person was somebody we really thought gave us a much better chance of making it to the last game of the season."
Mark Dent is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.